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QUESTION. While Professor Farlow is kind enough to answer our questions, I wish to ask him if he can give us any information in regard to the cause and prevention of pear and quince blight.
Professor FARLow. The pear-blight has caused so much trouble throughout all the eastern portion of the country, that of course I have been asked a great many times to study it. I have examined it, and I am free to say I do not know what the cause of it is. The entomologists say they have studied it, and they cannot find out the cause. It may be caused by a fungus, or not: there is not the slightest proof that it is. Although a thousand and one fungi have been shown as the cause of it, they are all common things, that grow upon trees of various kinds; and that which is found upon every thing cannot be the cause of any special disease on a particular tree. It may not be a reproach to the entomologists that the cause has not been found. It is like a great many other things. People say, “Where are you to look for the cause of the disease?” Of course, “cause ’’ is not used in this connection in the sense of “final cause,” as in theology, but simply the immediate cause. Nobody has been able to find fungus growing on a limb of a pear-tree affected by blight. It ought to be the simplest matter in the world to find it if it is there. If it is caused by fungus, it is because the threads of the fungus go down the limb. Just there is the key to the whole; and no one has yet found the fungus there.
Capt. MooRE. I desire to offer at this time, for the consideration of the Board and of the meeting, the following motion: —
Voted, That the State Board of Agriculture express their sense of gratitude to the citizens of Waltham and the Waltham Farmers' Club, for their cordial reception and many courtesies, which have added so much to the success of the meetings of the Board and the pleasure of its members.
I offer this vote by the direction of the Committee of Arrangements and members of the Board whom I have consulted, because it is no more than just and due, and every word of it is true. [Applause.]
Mr. WHITTAKER. I desire to second the motion to tender
a vote of thanks to the citizens of Waltham, and particularly to the Waltham Farmers’ Club, for many kind attentions which visitors here, not members of the State Board, have received at their hands. I think it is certainly due to the citizens of Waltham. I have travelled a great deal, a stranger almost everywhere; and I must say, that in all my travels, and in my visits to different parts of the world, I never met with a better state of feeling, never received so many kindnesses and so many favors, or made so many pleasant acquaintances, as I have the last three days in the town of Waltham. And, Mr. Chairman, there is nothing that I know of that gives so much satisfaction in passing through the world, where we rub against one another so hard, and frequently have the skin taken off as it were, and our feelings lacerated, and dark shadows come over us, as to remember those sunny spots which shine down upon us, and make life pleasant, and lead us to forget all those little troubles and difficulties that occur when we meet one another. I pray and trust that the farmers of Waltham, and the citizens of Waltham in general, will live, if not to treat me in the same manner as they have done, to treat in the same manner thousands who may come after me when I have done on the face of the earth.
Mr. Chairman, I second this motion because I feel that we have been so well treated. And I want also to express my satisfaction at the close of these meetings with the manner in which they have been conducted, and the large amount of information that has been presented, and the good feeling that has been manifested throughout. Last night, I said that it was rarely that I attended a mass meeting of this kind, where so many came together from different parts, and so many different views were entertained in regard to different subjects, where there was so little said that any one could wish had not been said: I said then that I could not place my finger upon a sentiment that had been uttered, or any thing that had been said or done, that I would desire to have stricken out. That was a great thing to say after two days.
After some further remarks by Mr. Wetherell and others, the Chair stated that he fully concurred with the views of the gentlemen who had expressed themselves so eloquently.
The motion was then put, and carried unanimously, when the Board adjourned, sine die.
REPORT OF COMMISSIONERS ON CONTAGIOUS DISEASES AMONG CATTLE.
To the Honorable Senate and House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The undersigned, Commissioners on Contagious Diseases among Cattle, are able to report that no specific disease has been prevalent in the herds of the State during the year past. The law of 1876, to prevent the recurrence of Spanish fever, by the importation of cattle direct from the plains of Texas, and the measures instituted by the commissioners to give information respecting the same, and for its enforcement, resulted that year in their exclusion, and, as was believed, with the ready acquiescence or co-operation of both cattle dealers and transporters. The good effect of the law was so apparent, and its provisions were supposed to be so generally understood and approved, that the Board did not deem it necessary, the present year, to again call public attention to it, or warn individual parties against its infringement. But through ignorance, or intentional disregard of the enactment, sundry persons have brought small numbers of the interdicted animals within the State; though the fact was not ascertained until after they had been slaughtered, and such proof as was desirable for conviction under the law not attainable. We have reason to believe that cattle of this kind were transported by car to the Union Stock Yards in Watertown, and driven thence by public road to Brighton, because native cows driven to pasture over that route contracted and died of Spanish fever. Texans were taken from the cars of the Boston and Albany Railroad in Worcester, and driven thence two miles to the place of slaughter; and a native herd which was driven on the same road subsequently, or grazed on a field which the Texans invaded, was attacked by this disease to the number of twenty, eleven of which died. A citizen of Upton, in Worcester County, procured a few of the same for beef; and they communicated the disease to his home stock, which resulted in the loss of eight animals.
The transactions in this class of stock during the warm season have been small indeed; but they have resulted in the loss of more than twenty choice natives, and the entire damage has been more than twenty-five hundred dollars, – a sum which, though comparatively small, should serve as a danger-signal to all interested in the cattle-trade, and stimulate the Board to be more alert in future.
Spanish fever has caused suffering and immense loss in the Western States during the summer; and for a time it was hazardous for our dealers to purchase the native animals of those States, lest they might have been exposed to the disease while in transit, and loss caused by its subsequent development. The attention of the Board was called to a case of this character. A farmer of Great Barrington, in Berkshire County, purchased a drove of cattle, natives of Ohio, and transported them to his home over the route usually taken by Texans. Most of them contracted the fever, which afterwards developed, causing the owner much loss, and creating public alarm, though the disease was confined to that herd.
The operations of this disease at the West, and our slight observation of it during the year, have served to confirm the commissioners in their oft-repeated opinion of its peculiar mode of transmission and dangerous character, and justify the legal enactments of the Legislature to prevent its introduction to the State. Of the sum of $500 appropriated by the Legislature of 1876 for the purposes of the commission, $45.35 was expended in defraying the expenses of 1875, and $62.60 was expended in 1876. The remaining sum of $392.05 by law now reverts to the general treasury. If, during the present year, an exigency should occur requiring action and expenditure by the commission, they would be powerless : therefore, as a measure of precaution and safety, they recommend to the Legislature to make a small appropriation, to be used by them in accordance with the provisions of the law.
Boston, Jan. 5, 1878. .
ANNUAL MEETING OF THE BOARD.
The Board met at the office of the secretary, in Boston, on Tuesday, the 5th of February, 1878, at twelve o’clock, Hon. Henry B. Peirce, Secretary of the Commonwealth, in the chair.
Present: Messrs. Baker, Bennett, Chadbourne, Comins, Fenn, Goessmann, Hadwen, Hawks, Hersey, Holland, Johnson, Knox, Macy, Merrill, Moore, Peirce, Sargent, A. A. Smith, Metcalf J. Smith, Upham, Vincent, Wakefield, and Wilder.
Voted. To adopt the order of business as reported last year.
The reports of delegates being in order, Mr. Macy reported upon the Essex; Mr. Merrill, upon the Middlesex South; Mr. Metcalf J. Smith, upon the Middlesex North; Dr. Wakefield, upon the Worcester North; Mr. A. A. Smith, upon the Worcester North-west; Mr. Comins, upon the Worcester South; Mr. Hawes (read by the secretary), upon the Hampshire Franklin and Hampden; Mr. Vincent, upon the Hampshire; Mr. Perry (read by the secretary), upon the Highland; Mr. Bennett, upon the Eastern Hampden ; Mr. Upham, upon the Union; Mr. Baker, upon the Franklin; Mr. Perry (read by the secretary), upon the Housatonic ; Mr. Hawks, upon the Worcester South-east; Mr. Fenn, upon the Plymouth; Mr. Hersey, upon the Barnstable ; Mr. Knox, upon the Nantucket; and Mr. Holland, upon the Berkshire.
Voted, That Col. wilder be requested to submit a report upon fruits and fruit-culture.
Messrs. Moore, Knox, and Merrill were constituted a committee to examine and report upon the credentials of newly elected members of the Board.
Messrs. Merrill, Hersey, and Comins were appointed a committee to consider and report upon the assignment of delegates.